Learn About Us

Green Schools Nova Scotia is an exciting initiative brought to you by Efficiency Nova Scotia to enhance environmental sustainability at schools. This free program helps support students, teachers, and the larger school community as they learn to waste less and become more energy efficient. 

Reducing energy consumption is the best way to mitigate climate change, and we are focused on energy! While we start from that foundation, we cover a spectrum of environmental concerns including energy, waste, water, transportation, and food. There are five pillars to the Green Schools NS program: Getting Started With Energy, Minimizing Waste, Using Water Responsibly, Living and Moving Green, and Supporting Local. 

Engagement Officers work with students, teachers, and school communities across the province to strengthen sustainable behaviour that helps the Earth. The program supports community efforts to reduce energy waste and to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels. Through curriculum linked education, resources, presentations, and initiatives, Green Schools community members can discover more about the impact of consumption habits, and how to waste less. 

Using resources efficiently and considering our environmental footprint are necessary skills as the global community unites to address climate change. The foundational experience students gain from Green Schools NS cultivates sustainable choices and behaviours that stick around for good.
 

Meet Our Team

Olga Lucía Torres
Program Manager

An innovative, eager to learn, and “make it happen” person, Olga Lucia joined the Green Schools NS team early in 2017. Originally from Colombia, she has made the Maritimes her home since 2001. Her passion for learning led her to study Animal Science at the National University of Colombia. She had the good fortune to grow up surrounded by forests, animals, and nature, in a family where working the land and being sustainable on a small scale was the norm. Her love for the land, trees and Mother Earth has accompanied her ever since, wherever she goes.

Olga Lucia has welcomed all of life's opportunities that have taken her from farming in Venezuela to research work in Canada. These are the things that continuously drive her in life: be adaptable, be curious, be fearless, never stop learning, always be ready to embrace a new culture, meet new people, and always smile.

In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her son, speed skating at the Halifax Oval, practicing meditation, camping, singing, reading, dancing to Latin music, and being close to nature by exploring Nova Scotia’s beautiful outdoors. 

Pamela Chandler
Northern Nova Scotia Engagement Officer

Pam joined the Green Schools team in September 2016 as Engagement Officer for Northern Nova Scotia. Originally from Guysborough County, Pam received a Bachelor of Technology from Memorial University of Newfoundland after first earning a diploma in Marine Environmental Technology from the Fisheries & Marine Institute in St. John’s. Her environmental studies led her to do a six-month internship in the Philippines where she experienced the local culture while studying aquaculture, including abalone and seaweed farming. While stationed in Palawan Pam had the opportunity to travel and explore in Southeast Asia, including Thailand, Hong Kong, and other Filipino Islands. She moved home to Nova Scotia and bought her first house after having loved the province of Newfoundland and its natural beauty for six years. When she’s not demonstrating how to live more sustainably, you can find Pam exploring Canada’s beautiful East coast with her dog Barney, rummaging through thrift stores, doing renovations on her house, working on antique cars with her dad, or baking up a storm in the kitchen. Please feel free to contact her with any questions!

 

Colleen Freake
Program Coordinator

As a young environmentalist, Colleen spent years studying and travelling. After graduating university in 2010 she returned to her passion of working with plants. She has worked with many organic farms in the Maritimes and has learned from great local farmers. Colleen studied permaculture to deepen her knowledge of resilience and earned a Permaculture Design Certificate in 2014. Looking ahead, these skills and principles are invaluable, whether it's encouraging others to waste less, or building community relationships. When she’s not in the garden, you can find Colleen swimming, hiking, and studying herbal medicine.

Colleen joined Green Schools NS team after her experience with an Efficiency Nova Scotia program called the Product Installation Service. Equipped with enthusiasm for energy efficiency, Colleen is keen to contribute to Green Schools Nova Scotia in the coming year. Colleen is eager and excited to work with students to support the best possible future for everyone!

Natalie McMaster
Southern Nova Scotia Engagement Officer

Natalie McMaster has been a Green Schools Engagement Officer since September 2013. Teaching, youth, ecology, sustainability, community involvement and implementing long-term change are Natalie's passions. Natalie's passion for the earth began growing up outdoors along the Bras d'Or Lakes in Ben Eoin, Cape Breton. This passion lead her to Acadia University where she earned her BScH in Biology, focusing her research on the endangered Blanding's turtle in Kejimkujik National Park. Natalie then headed to the University of Alberta where she studied the impacts of climate change and nitrogen deposition on alpine ponds in Banff National Park for her MSc in Environmental Biology and Ecology. In her free time you can find her outdoors with her family canoeing, surfing, swimming, camping, gardening, biking, or skiing.  Natalie is conscious about her everyday choices on the earth and loves to share ideas on how to live lightly with others. Natalie absolutely loves working with her schools in the South Shore, Tri-Country and Annapolis School Boards.

Shandel Brown
Cape Breton Engagement Officer

Shandel joined the Green Schools team in January 2016 as the Engagement Officer for Cape Breton. Originally from Alberta, Shandel has been slowly making her way around the country, recently making Cape Breton her home. She explored the west coast of British Columbia while taking a Liberal Arts and Science degree at Quest University Canada. Quest broadened her world view and prompted her to question our relationship with the Earth’s complex ecosystems. After a year of learning French and teaching English in Sherbrooke, Québec, Shandel made her first visit to the Maritimes for a summer job in Chéticamp, Cape Breton. Her master’s degree in Environment and Resource Studies from the University of Waterloo allowed her to return to Nova Scotia to study how a sense of place affects fishermens' ability to deal with climate change and other social and economic changes. Shandel recently came back to her farming roots when she moved to a fifth generation farm in the picturesque Margaree Valley where she now lives with her partner, Ben. When she’s not encouraging kids to play outside, grow vegetables and reduce energy consumption, you can find her cross-country skiing or feeding her pet calf named Coo.

Kelsey Brasil
Engagement Officer, CSAP & Halifax

Kelsey Brasil is an enthusiastic and passionate changemaker. She is a sustainability graduate of Dalhousie University, a former national-level gymnast, and a ball of energy! Kelsey uses empathetic and creative approaches to her work and has successfully spearheaded projects locally and internationally. She is a born story harvester, a team player, and loves all things caffeinated. This young female leader is her best self when working for change, progress, and community!

Ruvi Mugara
Engagement Officer, Halifax Regional Municipality

Ruvi Mugara was born and raised in the small, beautiful country of Zimbabwe. She moved to Nova Scotia after a fun game of 'spin the globe' that she played with her family at the tender age of 19, and then studied Psychology at Saint Mary's University. During her time at SMU, Ruvi was given the opportunity to travel to Washington, DC to perform African dance at President Barack Obama's inaugural ball in 2009. Ruvi believes that anything can be upcycled or remade into something new with some love and a bit of DIY skill. In her free time, Ruvi loves teaching African dance to children of various ages and volunteers in the community. She also has a passion for cooking and in her spare time, she likes to prepare special dishes for the underprivileged. 

Olga Lucía Torres
Program Manager

An innovative, eager to learn, and “make it happen” person, Olga Lucia joined the Green Schools NS team early in 2017. Originally from Colombia, she has made the Maritimes her home since 2001. Her passion for learning led her to study Animal Science at the National University of Colombia. She had the good fortune to grow up surrounded by forests, animals, and nature, in a family where working the land and being sustainable on a small scale was the norm. Her love for the land, trees and Mother Earth has accompanied her ever since, wherever she goes.

Olga Lucia has welcomed all of life's opportunities that have taken her from farming in Venezuela to research work in Canada. These are the things that continuously drive her in life: be adaptable, be curious, be fearless, never stop learning, always be ready to embrace a new culture, meet new people, and always smile.

In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her son, speed skating at the Halifax Oval, practicing meditation, camping, singing, reading, dancing to Latin music, and being close to nature by exploring Nova Scotia’s beautiful outdoors. 

Pamela Chandler
Northern Nova Scotia Engagement Officer

Pam joined the Green Schools team in September 2016 as Engagement Officer for Northern Nova Scotia. Originally from Guysborough County, Pam received a Bachelor of Technology from Memorial University of Newfoundland after first earning a diploma in Marine Environmental Technology from the Fisheries & Marine Institute in St. John’s. Her environmental studies led her to do a six-month internship in the Philippines where she experienced the local culture while studying aquaculture, including abalone and seaweed farming. While stationed in Palawan Pam had the opportunity to travel and explore in Southeast Asia, including Thailand, Hong Kong, and other Filipino Islands. She moved home to Nova Scotia and bought her first house after having loved the province of Newfoundland and its natural beauty for six years. When she’s not demonstrating how to live more sustainably, you can find Pam exploring Canada’s beautiful East coast with her dog Barney, rummaging through thrift stores, doing renovations on her house, working on antique cars with her dad, or baking up a storm in the kitchen. Please feel free to contact her with any questions!

 

Colleen Freake
Program Coordinator

As a young environmentalist, Colleen spent years studying and travelling. After graduating university in 2010 she returned to her passion of working with plants. She has worked with many organic farms in the Maritimes and has learned from great local farmers. Colleen studied permaculture to deepen her knowledge of resilience and earned a Permaculture Design Certificate in 2014. Looking ahead, these skills and principles are invaluable, whether it's encouraging others to waste less, or building community relationships. When she’s not in the garden, you can find Colleen swimming, hiking, and studying herbal medicine.

Colleen joined Green Schools NS team after her experience with an Efficiency Nova Scotia program called the Product Installation Service. Equipped with enthusiasm for energy efficiency, Colleen is keen to contribute to Green Schools Nova Scotia in the coming year. Colleen is eager and excited to work with students to support the best possible future for everyone!

Natalie McMaster
Southern Nova Scotia Engagement Officer

Natalie McMaster has been a Green Schools Engagement Officer since September 2013. Teaching, youth, ecology, sustainability, community involvement and implementing long-term change are Natalie's passions. Natalie's passion for the earth began growing up outdoors along the Bras d'Or Lakes in Ben Eoin, Cape Breton. This passion lead her to Acadia University where she earned her BScH in Biology, focusing her research on the endangered Blanding's turtle in Kejimkujik National Park. Natalie then headed to the University of Alberta where she studied the impacts of climate change and nitrogen deposition on alpine ponds in Banff National Park for her MSc in Environmental Biology and Ecology. In her free time you can find her outdoors with her family canoeing, surfing, swimming, camping, gardening, biking, or skiing.  Natalie is conscious about her everyday choices on the earth and loves to share ideas on how to live lightly with others. Natalie absolutely loves working with her schools in the South Shore, Tri-Country and Annapolis School Boards.

Shandel Brown
Cape Breton Engagement Officer

Shandel joined the Green Schools team in January 2016 as the Engagement Officer for Cape Breton. Originally from Alberta, Shandel has been slowly making her way around the country, recently making Cape Breton her home. She explored the west coast of British Columbia while taking a Liberal Arts and Science degree at Quest University Canada. Quest broadened her world view and prompted her to question our relationship with the Earth’s complex ecosystems. After a year of learning French and teaching English in Sherbrooke, Québec, Shandel made her first visit to the Maritimes for a summer job in Chéticamp, Cape Breton. Her master’s degree in Environment and Resource Studies from the University of Waterloo allowed her to return to Nova Scotia to study how a sense of place affects fishermens' ability to deal with climate change and other social and economic changes. Shandel recently came back to her farming roots when she moved to a fifth generation farm in the picturesque Margaree Valley where she now lives with her partner, Ben. When she’s not encouraging kids to play outside, grow vegetables and reduce energy consumption, you can find her cross-country skiing or feeding her pet calf named Coo.

Kelsey Brasil
Engagement Officer, CSAP & Halifax

Kelsey Brasil is an enthusiastic and passionate changemaker. She is a sustainability graduate of Dalhousie University, a former national-level gymnast, and a ball of energy! Kelsey uses empathetic and creative approaches to her work and has successfully spearheaded projects locally and internationally. She is a born story harvester, a team player, and loves all things caffeinated. This young female leader is her best self when working for change, progress, and community!

Ruvi Mugara
Engagement Officer, Halifax Regional Municipality

Ruvi Mugara was born and raised in the small, beautiful country of Zimbabwe. She moved to Nova Scotia after a fun game of 'spin the globe' that she played with her family at the tender age of 19, and then studied Psychology at Saint Mary's University. During her time at SMU, Ruvi was given the opportunity to travel to Washington, DC to perform African dance at President Barack Obama's inaugural ball in 2009. Ruvi believes that anything can be upcycled or remade into something new with some love and a bit of DIY skill. In her free time, Ruvi loves teaching African dance to children of various ages and volunteers in the community. She also has a passion for cooking and in her spare time, she likes to prepare special dishes for the underprivileged.